Thursday, September 19, 2013

Unrealistic 2014 Free Agent Targets: Jacoby Ellsbury

If you have been on twitter at all this season or simply asked a casual fan of the New York Yankees who our number one free agency target should be more people than not are saying Boston's center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. I do not know if this is more of a "get back at the Red Sox' motivated signing or it addresses a Yankees need since we already have Brett Gardner but I think ultimately the point will be moot. This is Ellsbury's big money contract free agency period entering the 2014 season coming off of a healthy 2013 season and only being in his age 30 season. Ellsbury plays a premium offensive and defensive position and is above average in both departments, hitting in Fenway Park or not. Ellsbury is another one of those left handed hitters that would benefit from the new Yankees Stadium but ultimately I can see him wanting too many years, too much money, and a team not named the New York Yankees based on principal alone. Wouldn't it be nice though to have an outfield of Alfonso Soriano, Brett Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury with a mixture of Ichiro Suzuki? Not to mention such a move would allow us to release Vernon Wells which becomes an addition by subtraction by itself and does not give us a hit on the 2014 luxury tax.

Ellsbury is not without his injury concerns since he was limited to just 18 games in 2010 and 74 games in 2012 with a second place finish in the MVP voting sandwiched in there in 2011. Ellsbury has been healthy again and productive once again in 2013 but do you know what you are really getting from the guy at this point? When he is on the field he is a spark plug and a catalysts but the Yankees already have two of those in Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki, do we need a third? Granted Ellsbury will steal more bases this season then Gardner and Ichiro combined at this rate and I am a huge advocate for speed killing but would he have enough offense to be a better option for us than say a Curtis Granderson? I honestly cannot say I believe that statement even with his left handed swing in Yankees Stadium. Outside of that power campaign in 2011 when he hit 32 home runs Ellsbury has never hit for much power, even in lefty friendly Fenway Park, and has never approached 100 RBI's outside of that season either. I know he is a lead off man but with that offense in Fenway you think he would have more than 40-50 RBI's a season. As unrealistic as it sounds though how many balls fan in the outfield consisting of Gardner, Ichiro, and Ellsbury? That is a fly ball pitchers dream but it is just that for the Yankees in 2014, a dream. 

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